Kongoh Bancho

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A shonen manga currently being published in Shonen Sunday magazine. It stars high school student Akira Kongoh, a ten-to-twelve-foot-tall mountain of muscle with incredibly spiky Anime Hair, mile-wide shoulders, and a stare that could cut bread.

After a series of misadventures involving a young girl named Hinako Sakura, who has a compulsion to take pictures of things that are "sooooo unusual" with her cell phone's camera, and her younger sister Tsukimi, in which he demonstrates his incredible strength and resilience (as well as his capacity for kindness and understanding), Kongoh reveals his reasons for his sudden appearance: He has come to stop something called "The 23 District Project". This involves people called "Bancho", people who have exceptional fighting skills as well as great amounts of charisma (and who can be identified by the dark red phoenix tattoo on the back of their neck), fighting for control of the 23 districts of Japan. (The word "bancho" itself is usually used to refer to the leader of a delinquent gang, and all Bancho wear Japanese school uniform jackets, in one form or another.) Whosoever conquers them all will be given control of Japan and will be able to mold its future to their liking.

He later ends up defeating one of the Bancho - Iai Bancho, a master of iaijutsu. He is then told that defeating a bancho means you gain their territory and are now part of the 23 District Project, whether you want to be or not, and is given his new title by his defeated opponent: Kongoh Bancho.

Tropes used in Kongoh Bancho include:


"Now I don't have to look at you."

  • Fan Nickname: One of the translation groups refers to Hikyou Bancho as "Gay Batman" on account of him being an otherwise mundane human with a tendency towards trickery and being Crazy Prepared, combined with his midriff-baring outfit and whip.
  • Fan Service: Pretty rare, but Douke Bancho brings it out in spades.
  • Fearful Symmetry: An interesting variation with Douke Bancho; Yoruko hides behind Asako and does everything exactly as she does, hiding her presence from the blinded Iai Bancho, and even the heroes, but not the villains who have a different perspective.
  • Five-Bad Band: The Five Dark Vows.
  • Five-Man Band: When Kongoh teams up with some other Bancho, they form a five person band.
    • The Hero: Kongou Bancho. Leader simply for never having been beaten. And being a total Badass.
    • The Lancer: Iai Bancho. A level-headed and honorable swordsman.
    • The Smart Guy: Hikyou Bancho: Uses trickery and deception. Fights smarter, not harder.
    • The Big Guy: Gouriki Bancho. Considering the fact that she swings around two iron balls on sticks that are as big as she is, it counts.
    • The Chick: Nenbutsu Bancho. Only gets here by being a psuedo-Buddhist priest. Does however cover the philosophical side.
    • Sixth Ranger: Sasori Bancho
  • Fridge Logic: Hinako saves us the trouble when Sasori Bancho reveals her age.
  • For the Evulz: Apparently the reason why Hikyou Banchou transferred the rest of the Five-Man Band into Kongou's class.
  • Gag Boobs: Douke Bancho, which results in a Nosebleed from Iai Bancho. To be fair, this is not the only contributing factor.
  • Generation Xerox: Rai seems like this at first, but he's really not Kongou's son, but his nephew.
    • Played straight anyway since he's not identical to Akira Kongoh but to Akira's brother, Takeshi Kongoh, who is his real father. They even share the same Catch Phrase, quite improbable considering that Rai haven't even met his father.
  • The Gunslinger: Shageki Bancho, who wants to use guns to protect people. He's got Gun Fu and Guns Akimbo, as well as a team of other gunmen, one of which is a teammate with a Sniper Rifle for backup. Predictably, the Guns Are Worthless against Machine Banchou.
  • Handicapped Badass: Iai Bancho slashes his own eyes so that he doesn't have to look at his opponents. The bandages have yet to be removed, and he's still an excellent swordsman.
  • Happily Adopted: Rai, Kongoh's nephew, though he himself doesn't know it at the moment. He certainly loves his "mommy", though.
  • Healing Factor: Kongoh is implied to have one of these, as other characters get beaten up and they take a while to heal. Oyanana even got Put on a Bus he was beaten so badly at one point, whereas Kongoh treats getting hit by a truck as only a flesh wound, and even recovers from it by the end of the battle.
    • His heart was stopped for a DAY and he still got up.
  • The Hero Dies: Kongoh gets killed by Machine Bancho. There's been no evidence that he could get better, although he later does.
  • Hikikomori: Appears in one chapter. Kongoh straightens him out.
  • Honor Before Reason: Bakunetsu Bancho's "reason" for saving everyone else after Kabuki Bancho activates the Self-Destruct Mechanism is because he couldn't call himself hotblooded otherwise.
  • Hot-Blooded: Bakunetsu Bancho
    • It appears Oyanana is starting to go this way as well.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Kongoh and the Sakura sisters, Gouriki Bancho and her minion sidekick Kairiki (she's also the shortest member of the Five-Man Band by far). Also the Kongou siblings' parents. Their dad is a man-mountain and their mom was normal-sized. It's best not to think how all 3 were conceived.
    • Two words: Turkey Baster.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kabuki Bancho doesn't like Hikyou Bancho's cowardice. He's, well, Not So Different in the end.
  • Idiot Hero: Gouriki Bancho. Unusual in that she's not the main character, but someone he fights.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Iai Bancho does this first. Later, Shirobara Bancho leaves a remarkably detailed rose emblem on Hikyou Bancho's bare chest in an instant.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Almost Always subverted with kongou,except here
  • Ironic Echo: The Nenbutsu arc begins and ends with the phrase "Is there no God or Buddha in this world?"
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Machine Bancho seems to be suffering from this, but it would be justified since he's, well, a machine.
  • Look Both Ways: Thank goodness Kongoh's Made of Iron. Hikyou's still a bastard, though.
  • Made of Iron: It's a shonen, so natch. Kongoh takes this Up to Eleven, though he is far from invincible.
  • Mama Bear: Did you expect anything less from Action Mom Sasori Bancho?
  • Manipulative Bastard: Shirobara Bancho has elements of this when he decides to give Hikyou Bancho some Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Hikyou Bancho. He's a Dirty Coward and Manipulative Bastard... who is a far better fighter than you'd expect, when he shows himself to be a Badass later on.
    • If L, Light,, and Lelouch donated their DNA to create the ultimate magnificent bastard, you'd likely get Hikyoua Bancho: Until Machine Banchou's appearance, he is the only Banchou able to cause Kongou severe injuries, the most impressive trick causing Kongou to be hit by a freakin' semi truck! And he manages to perform all of these tricks while making sure that there is no way for his opponent to counter attack. He later defeats an enemy by drugging his food with laxatives the morning before the fight, and afterwards, as payback for trying to kill him and his friends, drugs him again, drags him into the woods, then beats him bloody. The victim is left a hikikomori, too scared to eat his favorite foods in fear of them being drugged again. Hikyou is a Magnificent Bastard of high caliber.
  • Meaningful Name: The Bancho code names usually convey a good impression of what to expect from them. Kongou's real name is this, and thus gets turned into his code name as a Bancho.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The end result of Gouriki Bancho being both an Idiot Hero and a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Needs More Love
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Gouriki Bancho and her "Hyperion Constitution", which pretty much means she's made of titanium.
  • No Indoor Voice: "I'm Bakunetsu Bancho!! Men who aren't Hot-Blooded should die!!" Basically, if his mouth is open, he's probably shouting.
  • No Name Given: Played with; all the Bancho have names that they freely give out when they introduce themselves, but then they say what their code names are and we never hear their real names again, leading to Everyone Calls Them Bancho. Subverted with Kongoh, whose Code Name is his Meaningful Name.
  • No One Could Survive That: Used repeatedly in the Five Dark Vows arc, especially in the final fight.
  • Noble Demon: Since his Heel Face Turn, Hikyou Banchou takes every opportunity he can to remind everyone that he's only part of the Five-Man Band as part of his plan to be the last man standing. Even if there's some truth to it, there's the matter of going into a Tranquil Fury when Kongoh is killed by Machine Banchou, going so far as to take the latter on all by himself.
  • No Social Skills: Kongoh can't figure out a flip-top cellphone, and later on when he comments "What's e-mail?"
  • Old Retainer: Gokurou, the Shirayukinomiya's family butler.
  • One-Winged Angel:Kongoh, when he applies his muscle swelling to his entire body to create "Violent Mode"- capable of taking on Machine Banchou, who previously killed him with no effort, with ease.
  • Overly Long Name: "Kobushi Shirayukinomiya", though it's not TOO long. Not surprisingly, we hear her name more than the other Bancho.
  • The Paralyzer: Sasori Banchou. Her name means "scorpion", so this is no surprise.
  • Playing with Fire: Bakunetsu Bancho, with his gunpowder gloves and the rather creative use thereof. There's also his minions, who try various ways to set Kongoh on fire.
  • The Power of Friendship: It's unknown whether or not this is literal, but it has been claimed that Kongoh derives power from those who believe in him.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Just reading this will cause testosterone production to triple.
    • Tag line for the chapter 38, Bakunetsu VS Kongoh

A lethal dose of manliness is breaking through! Try not to get addicted!

  • Razor Floss: Hikyou Bancho's secret weapon that he hesitates to use against humans. Thankfully, Machine Banchou's minions are all sentient robots.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Kongoh really likes his pudding. This shows in crowning moments of both awesome and heartwarming.
  • The Rival: Kongoh's brother Takeshi
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What happens when Kongoh is killed by Machine Bancho, and the other Bancho find out about it.
  • Rule of Cool: The accepted in-universe explanation for Kongoh and the others coming back to life on their own after their hearts stopped.
  • Running Gag: A few, such as the characters not believing what just happened.
  • Samurai: Iai Bancho, though he has traits of a Knight in Shining Armor as well considering how he treats women.
  • Say It with Hearts: A couple of times, though Hikyo Bancho is a repeat offender.
  • Serial Escalation: The main character starts off chapter one by saving a jerkass from falling steel girders with his body, attacking a yakuza compound while carrying a car, getting stabbed with knives and breaking the blades off eith just his back muscles, then breaking a sword in midswing with his bare hands. Oh, and those last three items? He did them just to get a yakuza underling to apologize for ripping up a little girl's drawing. And it only escalates from there.
  • Single-Minded Twins: A variation; Douke Bancho had to train to gain the ability to invoke this at will.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Machine Bancho
  • Smug Snake: Oyanana, though Kongoh shows him the light.
  • Social Darwinist: An unusual case; Bakunetsu Bancho believes that men who aren't hot-blooded should "just go die".
  • Something About a Rose: Shirobara Bancho. His name means "White rose".
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Subverted, as the Bancho Kongoh fights early in the story beat the crap out of ones that show up later on. Both played straight and subverted with Machine Bancho, who not only blows away all older Bancho, but also claims that he's at least as strong as Kongoh's older brother, one of the Big Bads.
    • The Dark Student Council plays this straight, though it's not surprising since all of its members are the banchous who've come out on top in their own prefectures. As a testament to their strength, one was able to take out six Banchou with a One-Hit Kill, and later on defeat Ourou and Iai Banchou. The other one took on Nenbutsu, Gouriki, Hikyou and Sasori Banchou, losing only when Kongoh himself kicked his ass -- and even then he still managed to escape.
  • Stage Magician: Douke Bancho is this but with great emphasis put on the magic.
  • Talk to the Fist: Nenbutsu Bancho is quite surprised when Kongoh doesn't even let him finish speaking, let alone call his attacks.
  • Tear Jerker: The shot of Machine Bancho killing Kongoh- and Tsukimi is standing RIGHT THERE. Some of the blood even spills on her. Her non-reaction tugged the heart strings far more than Hinako's screaming.
    • What's worse is when Machine Bancho dies, Tsukimi still cries for him, and Machine Bancho finally sheds (oil) tears.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Sasori Bancho doesn't seem to think much of this at first, but then she leads us to believe she's a Woman Scorned. Turns out it's not even her kid. Probably a case of You Never Asked.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: Machine Bancho believes Tsukimi to be the mysterious "Dr. Tsukina", whose orders supersede Dr. Kagimiya's. Except the order to kill Kongoh. Poor Tsukimi.
    • Noticeably, we know that this shouldn't be the case, as Machine Banchou identifies humans by their voice patterns and with a retina scan instead of just, you know, looking at them.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Justified, since the 23 District Project was conceived by the Japanese Government, the ultimate intended result being the rebirth of Japan. The rest of the world (so far, anyways) doesn't even factor into the equation.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Oyanana, though not to the point that he could be considered a Bancho. Doesn't stop him from declaring himself the new Kongoh Bancho and trying to fight Machine Bancho.
  • Tournament Arc: The entire series is nothing but this.
  • Training From Hell: Too bad for Oyanana, this ISN'T what he gets from Gokurou.
  • Tranquil Fury: Hikyou Bancho after Kongoh's death.
    • "My blood has never boiled this hot before. But... My heart is cold and calm, like an ocean of darkness." Said while he's holding Machine Bancho's FREAKING ARM in his hand.
  • Ubermensch: Ostensibly, the goal of the 23 District Project and its larger, nation-spanning expansion is to create one of these that will lead Japan into greatness. Whether the leader of this program Takeshi Kongou is an Ubermensch himself or simply a Nietzsche Wannabe remains to be seen.
  • Use Your Head: In two different situations, Kongou was blackmailed into staying still while his opponent beat him, due to them holding one of his friends hostage. The first time this happened, the blackmailer specified "Don't move your arms or legs". Kongou used this trope and reminded them afterwards "That wasn't very smart at all". However, the second time this happened the blackmailer was Genre Savvy enough to tell him not to move his head either.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Douke Bancho's name makes you think they'll be this, though he she it they are more of a Stage Magician.
  • Walking on Water: Kongoh pulls this off on a piranha infested pool, and berates the members of Nenbutsu's cult when they compare his Charles Atlas Superpower to Jesus.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Gouriki Bancho, who believes herself to be a superhero on the side of justice. The people she "saves" don't really think so.
  • Whip It Good: Hikyo Bancho
  • White and Gray Morality: Many Bancho have a pretty good reason for fighting in the 23 District Project, the whole point of which is to make Japan a better place. Kongoh beats the crap out of them anyways, but it all works out in the end.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Kongoh and Iai Bancho have theirs put to the test when they see Gokurou arrive with a cauldron of food for Gouriki Bancho a moment after she calls for it.
    • Done again when Nenbutsu Bancho grows a full head of hair through sheer willpower.
    • Many of the Banchous plans to improve Japan. Housing situation problem? Stick everyone in 4x4x4 boxes for homes. Food shortages? Everyone eat bugs. This tends to be Lampshaded.
  • The Worf Effect: Wolf Fang, a group made up of the seven remaining Banchous, is set up to be a reprise of the Five Dark Vows arc to reach the end of the 23 District Project. They get set up by the Dark Student Council, and all but the leader are taken down in a One-Hit Kill. That's not one shot each. TOTAL.
  • World of Badass: Sort of. Too many badasses for it to not count, but the whole point is that they live in an otherwise normal Tokyo.
  • World of Ham: Also comes across as this some of the time; very noticeable in the Gouriki Bancho arc.
  • World's Strongest Man: Kongoh gives the impression of being this. Then you meet Gouriki Bancho, though Kongoh beats her in the end.
    • And then it turns out that Kongoh went easy on her because his full attacks would have knocked her straight into some kind of hyper acid. When they have a rematch after Gouriki Bancho's misunderstanding, she doesn't last past the first hammer.
      • Then later, we meet the world's strongest man's brother, who is even stronger. Then there's the world's strongest man's father, who is probably stronger than both of his children COMBINED.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Averted. In a fight it pretty much has no bearing whether the opponent is male or female.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: A couple of Bancho, such as Kangoku Bancho and Nenchaku Bancho]]\\. Machine Bancho's minions, on the other hand, are extremely confused when this trope goes into full effect.
  • You Fail History Forever: I was not aware America played a game with Britain so that they could declare their independence.
    • Pretty much anytime there's a panel explaining the "history" of something, you can almost guarantee this trope is in full effect. It's probably a Running Gag more than anything else.